(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Two lonely people and the walls they build around themselves are the subjects of this comedy-drama written and directed by Michael Di Jiacomo. John Turturro plays Leroy, who does not get out much when not on his job as a bicycle courier. One night Leroy calls a phone-sex line and is connected with Patti (Katherine Borowitz), who is equally neurotic. Through a series of phone calls they open up to each other and form a tenuous bond. The acting is good but the viewer has a hard time emotionally investing in their relationship. Because the overwhelming majority of the film is just phone conversation, this material almost could have been better served by being a radio drama. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10

Leroy (a.k.a. Wooly, played by John Turturro) is a marginal human being. He is a bicycle courier by day and at night he hides in his room from the world. One night he calls a phone-sex line and chooses Patti (Katherine Borowitz) as the least objectionable of the candidate voices at the other end. Knowing little more about Patti than that she shares his taste for fish sticks, he requests a call from Patti. When he gets it she has no interest in phone sex, but does go into rambling conversations. Though they do not hit it off immediately, now that Patti has Leroy's phone number she calls him repeatedly. The conversations do little more than give us tragic but also perhaps whimsical views of the two people. Leroy can draw off of Patti's emotional balance, but soon it becomes clear that she has severe problems of her own behind the calm façade.

We are never really sure why the two lonely people are doing what they are doing, and getting to know them through subsequent conversations does not help a lot. Most of what we know about the characters is only subtly implied. In one conversation Patti refuses to talk unless Leroy is talking. When he pauses, she pauses. She is playing a game with Leroy that seems pointless. Soon she gives up on this behavior--what she calls "an old behavior"--and moves on to her next idiosyncrasy never to repeat this one. Each is not so much a person, but a collection of strange behaviors. Leroy is floored by what he hears coming over the phone, but is oddly charmed by Patti and half attracted to her. It is hard to take Patti as being more than just a set of contrived eccentricities. Even if we do take her seriously we wonder if Leroy really should be attracted to her. Any long-term relationship of the two is doomed by her fighting her own personal devils. For the film to have any charm the viewer needs to be invested in their rapport and writer/director Michael Di Jiacomo has not created a relationship the viewer has much interest in.

Ninety percent of the film is just the conversations on the phone relieved with very little and usually mundane action. With little modification this could have been done as a radio play. The story takes a long time to develop into much and the ending in a contrivance.

Ashleigh Brilliant drew a cartoon of a turtle saying, "I am glad I am going slowly, because I might be going in the wrong direction." That relationship between Patti and Leroy may develop slowly. but they really may not be right for each other. 1-900-TONIGHT (a.k.a. SOMEWHERE TONIGHT) is a quirky romance that is never quite satisfying. It never really works. I rate 1-900-TONIGHT a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.

Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034293/combined

What others are saying: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/somewhere_tonight_2012/

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2013 Mark R. Leeper